The 8 Types Of Backpackers You Meet While Traveling


Traveling has become significantly more affordable and accessible than it was even a decade ago, and as a result, the world of travel has seen a growing trend in the quantity of backpackers exploring the globe. But no matter how many there are you can more often than not pigeonhole each backpacker into a specific category. (And if you’re a backpacker, you’ll probably disagree. Because we all like to think we are too specifically unique that it’ll be impossible to classify us.)

1. The seasoned backpacker

These guys are the veterans, the pros, the old timers. One can only assume that backpacking is their only style of travel and they have never heard of and/or stepped into a hotel before.

The moment they enter a room, they take out all their dirty clothes and proceed to the bathroom to rinse them. Subsequently, they take out a laundry line, hang it on the balcony or along their bed frame (if they are on the lower deck of the bunk beds) for it to dry. After that, they will disappear, and you will never see them again. This is because they have an itinerary with a list of things they must do within the time they are there. And nothing is going to get in the way of them completing their goal.

Then one day, their clothing line is nowhere in sight, their bags are gone and their bed nicely made. It’s as if they were never there.

Their main objective is to experience the people, the place and the culture was accomplished with such military precision that you sometimes wonder if they were actually there or if you were just dreaming it. Because other then a polite hi or bye, they don’t see a need to talk to others who are not from the place they are visiting.

2. The prison escapees

We all live in this prison… this prison called life. Or at least that is what these guys will tell you. And you can only identify them after you’ve struck up a conversation with them.

These are the people who have quit their jobs because they didn’t like the life they were living, and are spending a year just traveling to discover the world and find themselves. They would be the ones with the most interesting personalities but when you ask them what they used to do before they quit, they would mention the most boring jobs like logistical matrix planner or accounting executive or something along those lines. In other words, they would be the ones whose personality did not fit what they used to do.

And so they travel, hoping that somewhere along the journey, they will find inspiration so that when they face reality again, they would have a renewed sense of purpose.

In addition, like a prisoner, experiencing freedom after a long time will cause them to forget their inhibitions and cautious nature, which might lead to some bad but definitely memorable experiences such as waking up in a gypsy home after going through a ritual using cocaine and tequila to “cleanse your soul”.

3. The meat vendors

Meat vendors refer to the people who parade themselves around in order to attract a suitor for the night or the duration of their stay. By day, they are avid travelers but by night they begin thinking from the lower half of their body.

Of course, none of us really ever have a problem with that even if we say we do. It’s always nice to have someone hot come into your room in their underwear, asking to borrow your toothpaste. When they leave, you say to your friends, “How desperate!” But secretly, you hope they return your toothpaste wearing just their underwear if not a little less.

It’s this love/hate relationship with the meat vendors that keep us all entertained during the duration of our stay.

4. The “there was this one time” person

We all know them and love them. These are the people we look forward to having a nightcap with after a tiring day of exploring. They are an absolute delight to be around because they always have these amazing stories to tell, which allows you to not have to talk at all and to be entertained at the same time.

And when I say amazing stories, I mean it. From getting bitten by a cobra in the fields of India to running away from Russian gangsters because they didn’t pay the bar tab, there will never be a dull story in their arsenal. Sometimes their story is so unbelievable you’d end up asking yourself, “Is this guy screwing with me? There is no way he ended up having an impromptu tennis match with Boris Becker in Costa Rica.” But by that time, you’re drunk enough to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Whether the stories are real or fake, it would never be a dull night with this person around. In fact, you might end up doing something crazy with him, which might cause you to be a character in one of his crazy stories.

5. The quiet one

There are two types of quiet people. The first are the ones who prefer to be left alone and not disturbed. They do everything by themselves with no intention of interacting unless absolutely necessary like when they ask you what the Wi-Fi password is. They like being alone and just observing everyone like they’re doing research for their thesis on social interactions.

The second type of quiet people are the ones who don’t have the social skills required to interact with others. They really want to. And they try so hard to be in a situation where it would be easy to talk to someone. They come down to the common room during peak hours or cook something in the kitchen when a fresh batch of backpackers come in to just chill before they head out again. They would even go so far as to come down with a map to pretend to ask for directions and recommendations.

But often not everyone notices how hard he or she tries to be social and make new friends. At most, they are greeted with a friendly greeting or the “where are you from?’ formalities that everyone goes through. Nevertheless, they deserve some recognition. In spite of their lack of social skills or nervousness, they went for it. They tried to socialize and whether they were successful or not, they were successful. You know what I mean?

6. The wannabes

You’ll notice them struggling to drag a suitcase up the hostel stairs to their room, wearing branded clothes and carrying around a money clip if it’s a guy or an incredibly huge purse filled with credit cards if it’s a girl. Basically they are the ones who want the acknowledgement of being a backpacker without the desire to actually be one.

7. The overstayers

These are the people that fell in love with the city that they’re in and decided to stay for an indefinite period of time and just work at the hostel. They become so acquainted with the people and the place that they may even end up being your tour guide.

8. The “Just graduated”

Sound familiar? Many of us might have gone through this phase in some way or another. It’s our graduation trip with our best friends just to explore the world and see how far we can go with almost no money. The most successful of these travelers will often be hot girls. Because as we all know, if you’re a hot girl, the fewer things you pay for and the longer you can travel.

I know, life’s unfair sometimes. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Dreaming about what it’s like to live abroad? Check out “A Year Without Make-Up: Tales of a 20-Something Traveler” from Thought Catalog Books here.


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